'Measles victim' tested further

Further tests have been ordered on the body of a father-of-one who may be the first victim of a major UK measles epidemic.

Measles sufferer Gareth Williams, 25, was found dead in his flat in Port Tennant, Swansea, south Wales, one week ago.

A post-mortem examination to establish the cause of his death has proved inclusive, the Swansea Coroner's Office has confirmed.

The measles epidemic, centred on Swansea, showed no sign of slowing today as the latest figures for the area were released. Measles cases in the region have jumped by 56 in the last two days as the headline total reached 942.

Worst hit are children and teenagers aged 10 to 18 who missed out on the vital measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab when they were younger. That was due to unfounded fears that the three-in-one vaccination was somehow linked to autism in children.

Meanwhile, a major £20 million programme to vaccinate one million children and teenagers across England has been announced. It has been prompted by fears that the epidemic in Wales could spread across the border into England.

In common with Wales, a large number of people missed out on the MMR jab and are unprotected against the spread of the disease. In both areas unfounded fears the three-in-one jab was linked to autism in children was responsible for the drop in vaccination uptake.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has urged teenagers preparing to sit crucial GCSE and A-level exams to ensure they are vaccinated. Major efforts to vaccinate thousands of children and young adults who missed out in the past are still under way.

The outbreak in Swansea is one of the biggest to have hit the UK in the last decade.

Although the outbreak is centred mainly on Swansea, rates of measles are high throughout the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University, Powys and Hywel Dda health board areas, especially in Neath Port Talbot and North Powys.